With the numbers breaking badly against him, a dwindling pool of votes left for King County Election officials to count and facing long odds for a shift in his fortunes, state Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, on Friday evening conceded the 47th Legislative District race to Covington Democrat Mona Das.
Fain’s bid for re-election was marred by accusations by former Seattle city official Candace Faber that he’d raped her in 2007, on the night she graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Fain was not in office at the time of the alleged assault.
Fain has denied the charge and asked for a thorough investigation.
Trailing by more than 500 votes in the latest tally, Fain conceded the race, releasing his message on Facebook.
Das did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
“I want to congratulate Senator-Elect Das on her new opportunity to serve South King County in the Washington state Senate,” Fain wrote in an email message. “I look forward to supporting her during the transition in any way I can. The past eight years have been the most professionally rewarding time in my life. I’m so grateful to my supporters, friends, constituents and colleagues for giving me the opportunity to serve.
“I especially thank my family, and most of all my wife, Steffanie,” Fain continued. “Public service is incredibly demanding on a family; few recognize the daily sacrifices that our loved ones must make.”
Das continued to build her lead over Fain in the most recent tallies from King County Elections. By 4 p.m., Friday, Fain had dropped to a 548-vote deficit, garnering 26,755 votes, (49.49 percent) to Das’ 27,303 votes (50.51 percent).
The next posting is at 4 p.m., Monday, but the math was looking increasingly grim for Fain, who had lost ground in every update.
”We added 3,924 ballots to the District 47 race today, so what remains is we have 580 outstanding signature challenges, not all of which will be resolved, and a few more alternative ballots to process,” said Kafia Hosh, spokesperson for King County Elections. “So, our best estimate is we have 400 to 500 remaining ballots to count.”
During his time in office, and in an era when the modern political culture creates plenty of partisan warriors but far too few diplomats, Fain wrote, he tried to be a bridge between parties and ideologies. For the state and country to thrive, he continued, people must start listening to one another with open minds and open hearts.
“We cannot fear what we see as different. We cannot vilify one another as a way of grasping for power. Only a free, open and respectful society is capable of facing and overcoming the challenges before us. While I will miss the endless challenges and rewards of legislative service, these election results widen the door to my family and two young boys who need and deserve a full-time dad who has been largely absent during the long winter months of the previous legislative sessions.
“Elected service in America is not prestigious. We are all just everyday citizens who are called, for a time, to give what we can on behalf of our neighbors. That is the system I love and trust. Thank you for putting your trust in me these past two terms. I’m so proud of what we have accomplished together,” Fain concluded.
Fain’s defeat comes in the throes of a looming investigation.
In late September, Faber, a former foreign service officer and an employee of Seattle’s Information Technology Department, said Fain had raped her in a Washington, D.C., hotel room in 2007, following a night of drinking that celebrated her graduation from Georgetown.
Faber first made the allegation in a tweet and later posted her story on Medium.
On Thursday, a state Senate subcommittee agreed it would spend funds to hire an investigator to look into the allegation.
Given the outcome of the election, it is unclear if the committee will proceed with the outside investigation.
Fain, 37, was first elected to the state Senate in 2010 and reelected in 2014. He served as the Senate minority floor leader during the 2018 legislative session.